10 Feb Newsletter 10 February 2012
Thanks to the small 230 families, who on Saturday found their way to the New Students interview on Saturday despite severe cold and snow on the way up through Jutland. We had a terrific positive day with the sun shining brightly over Ranum. After being interviewed about interests, home life, schooling and goals for the stay, the future students and parents could hear about next school year's initiatives, the profile subjects, the international department and the new profile subject expeditions during the Globalisation period. Refreshments were served in the canteen and several places hosted student presentations from recent trips to Nepal, India, Miami, Ghana and the Nordic countries. The students also showed around the school. The future students and especially the parents praised the current student team for their great commitment and great storytelling, and the weekend team was totally bombed after a long Saturday.
The week has included Compulsory Self-chosen Assignment, OSO and project writing. It has been a work marathon for most students, only interrupted by a few moments of cosiness and an evening excursion to Fjerritslev Gymnasium's annual Musical, Tuesday evening. It has been a very peaceful week, where the students have enjoyed themselves and again it is fantastic to experience what happens when about 246 students throw themselves into independent projects alone and in smaller groups. There are always both fast and slow starters, so the counsellors have throughout the week been busy coordinating and following up on their group of students. In the 10th grade, the pupils in the OSO task have also had to create a product for their project, and targeted their future educational and vocational choices.
The musical at Fjerritslev Gymnasium kept the students busy and we had to hire an extra bus as the turnout was unexpectedly high. The performance was an interpretation of The Lion King, so the songs went down well with the group of students who heard it from the cradle. It's great to be able to take a large group of pupils out of the house and feel that they are good guests and appreciate a good experience.
We have also been out of the house on another occasion, as I, along with a colleague and a few former students, have been the fair Education without borders in Odense on Wednesday and Thursday. We were together with AFS Interkultur and therefore we had a lot of visitors. The theme of the stand was "Education beyond all borders" and we were visited by around 2500 young people and adults at the stand. We had organised a quiz where the guests could win sweets, fruit or chocolate if they could identify Ranum on a map. It was a real challenge and we experienced the people from Fyn as very locally patriotic. There were many efterskoler from Funen at the fair and almost all the efterskole students we talked to lived on Funen themselves. This was surprising, as almost all students at Ranum Efterskole, unlike the Funeners, go on efterskole far from home and have thus stretched the umbilical cord somewhat further. The message to the Funeners must therefore in the future be "go across the water - and the Little Belt Bridge is even free and with just 3 hours to Ranum, the parents will also get a little more weekend peace 🙂 We were happy to exhibit on Funen and should say that Funen is as nice as Ranum is nice!
In the pedagogical case of the repatriated boys, 4 returned on Sunday and the last 4 have been to another interview about the process. We experienced again that both time and distance give space for reflection and self-insight. The big question kept coming up, how could the boys party on an ordinary Wednesday night, and the answer was uncovered over several conversations: those involved formed a subculture around their night-time community, and when, after the private student party in December, there was alcohol in a room, they besieged the community with it. Each of the group reflected on what made them not speak up, and the unequivocal answer was that each was afraid of being socially frozen out by the others. This negative group dynamic is not unknown in either adult or teen groups, and the experience that it can be really hard to break away has been one of the boys' realizations. This past week we have also been working in the teacher group on the question, can we accommodate the last 4 boys, and as we have come to that conclusion we would like to try. So the boys are back at the after school from next week on a "backpack scheme" where they have nothing more with them than they can take the next bus if it doesn't work out.A few are also moving room so the group is physically split up. In addition, a number of tasks will be divided up so that they can do something for the community and the school in return for all the negative attention they have demanded. We have both the parents' and the boys' word that there will be no more problems. Both students and staff are aware that we all have a common task in terms of restoring the community environment and trust in the returnees.
At the other end of the educational spectrum, we were all pleasantly surprised today by a mother who sent her daughter and everyone at Ranum Efterskole 300 carnival buns for your birthday. The kitchen was alerted and served hot cocoa. Lovely birthday surprise that brought smiles everywhere!
In the coming week there are presentations of projects and OSO assignments every day of the week. We will end the week with parent talks and there will also be the opportunity to discuss the school's pedagogical practices with the headmaster. There will also be presentations from the profile subject teams on an ongoing basis.
The winter holidays also start on Friday and we are looking forward to a well-deserved holiday in week 8. The school is closed and will reopen on Sunday 26 February. Tonight, the student party committee and the parents' council are holding the 3rd student party of the year with more than 200 students. We hope that it will be a really good and safe party and we appeal that we do not get alcohol or tobacco etc. at school after the weekend, thank you!
At Ranum Efterskole we have tonight hosted a festive evening for the villages around Vilsted Lake, organised by the Village and Citizens' Associations. We began with a dinner inspired by the 1970s and ended with a terrific concert with Mikael K band, Klondike, who have just released a CD entitled Udkantsland - Tonight we were the centre of a good local community in the unique setting of the ballroom!
Best regards and have a great weekend!
In line with last week's newsletter, which brought you some reactions from parents, below we bring you a post from one of the boys who has been sent home and who, without being asked, wanted to explain himself:
Post to Newsletter Friday 10.2.2012
It all started when I had some alcohol left over from the last private "student party" (16/12-11) that we had to bring alcohol to. On Wednesday 25/01-12 we unfortunately decided to have a kind of "party" up at the school. It is not only the repatriated who are affected. It affects the rest of the school much more. I don't think I'll ever forget the look on people's faces when we told them we'd been sent home. It's a life lesson we've learned!
What the 8 of us did that evening/night is in no way acceptable. First of all, we have created a great distrust among our teachers, other students, as well as our parents. Which will be difficult to rebuild, but I am quite sure it can be done as long as we talk about things.
I believe we should be given a chance again because everyone deserves a chance in life. Of course we should have a punishment, but at the same time I would like to say that being repatriated without knowing if you can come back is a huge punishment in itself. Most people see a repatriation as a kind of holiday, I would like to sign that it is in no way. I'm sure the rest of the returnees, as well as our parents, will too. xxxx
An apology to the school, the parents, the teachers and all the students at Ranum efterskole.
What happened on that Wednesday night is totally wrong in every possible way, and we are deeply sorry. We are very happy that the school has decided to give us another chance to show that we are good boys.
I have been asked to explain why my roommate brought alcohol to school. In the beginning we just talked about it, the kind of talk where you never think it's going to happen and it had been like that for a while. But one evening we sat and wrote a bit together and then we both thought it would be fun to drink a beer at school. Soon others were on board with the idea. After the one time when it went well, we thought that nothing would happen, and we did it again and it went completely wrong that Wednesday night. We all know that it is deeply wrong, and afterwards we think that it occurred because the night end did not give the same rush anymore. We have talked to each other afterwards about how to ensure that this never happens again, and how to ensure that nothing stupid will ever happen from our side again. We have agreed that we will talk to each other if you start to feel that you are falling back into the bad track. I have an agreement with my contact teacher that we talk a couple of times a week. I also have an agreement with many of my other friends who have said that they will give me some good advice and help me so that I don't get into more trouble. I apologise again and I can't say it enough, we are really sorry for what has happened.
(The letters speak for themselves. This is the first time that students who have been repatriated will be able to report in the Newsletter. and comments are welcome!)